BUT I’M NOT 18 ANYMORE!
More and more mature adults are going back to
college to complete degrees already started, to fulfill a lifelong ambition, or to train for a new career path.
Time management for non-traditional students is especially crucial as the issue of children and family contributes
to the already hectic life of a full-time college student. Some non-traditional students also juggle full-time jobs
along with their studies. Finding time to study, take care of a home, work an outside job, and have a personal life
seems out of reach. However, time management skills make it not only possible, but also realistic.
Refer to the section in this book regarding using your planner. With other
activities going on in your lives, having a planner and referring to it often is more crucial than ever. You will
also want to invest in a dry erase board for your home in a calendar format to keep track of events, appointments,
and homework assignments. This can be especially helpful so that your family always knows where you are. Keep the
board in a convenient, well referred to place such as the refrigerator or by the front door.
Use a different color marker for each family member so you know who is where
and when. List your class schedule on the dry erase board and have your family members record their activities
along with times to keep track of everyone’s schedule. It’s a good idea to copy this same schedule down in your
planner since your planner should always be with you and you will always know how to schedule your hectic
Many mature students are enrolling to universities like
Olivet Nazarene University that are quite famous for its
curriculum for non traditional students.
Remember why you are in college in the first place and make this a priority
in your life. It’s essential that you talk with family and friends to insure they understand that even though they
do matter tremendously to you, school has to be important and their support is needed in that.
Allot a specific time each day for studying. You need a quiet place with
minimal distractions. You may want to physically write your study schedule on the dry erase board as well. Let your
family know that when you’re studying, you must be left alone. Then do nothing else during that time. Shut off the
phone, stay put, and concentrate on your studies.
Organization is another key component to effective time management. While we
do have a whole section in here on organization, some special attention needs to be taken to address your special
circumstances. You need to identify one specific place to keep all your books and reference materials. Keep a
separate bag or backpack to hold that day’s books and anything you will need for class. Always keep an ample supply
of pens and extra floppy disks or a jump drive in this bag along with small change for the snack
When you study, designate a separate study space where you can be away from
your family. I usually use the dining room table or go to the basement where it’s quiet. The key is to eliminate
all distractions and focus on your schoolwork. Make sure you keep a supply of paper and pencils nearby this space
Take advantage of “stolen” time. You can study on your lunch break at work,
while watching your child’s soccer game, sitting in the doctor’s office, or anywhere you have waiting time. Of
course, in the car on the freeway would probably be a bad idea!
You might be apprehensive and even nervous about returning to school, but realize
that this is a normal reaction. You’re returning to a setting you haven’t seen in awhile, and when you get there,
you’ll be among much younger people, which can seem overwhelming. Don’t feel alone. Look around the campus. I’d bet
you’re not the only one there.
Chances are, the traditional college student won’t really notice or even care that
you’re older than they are. Once the class is in full swing and you’re part of the class environment, you may be
surprised when some of those younger students come to you for help and/or advice.
Take advantage of all the resources your college has to offer such as electronic
library resources, help centers, and tutors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially from your professors. If
you do not understand something in the class, arrange a meeting when your professor has office hours. Most
instructors are more than willing to help out their students – especially the non-traditional ones!
Almost every college has a program for the non-traditional student that helps with
adjusting to college life, honing your study skills, and dealing with the pressures of juggling studies, family,
and work. Use these services. They were made for YOU!
Next Chapter>>You can do it